On the heels of closing its Luxembourg office last month, Barnes & Noble announced the inevitable today. Customers in Europe are finding out via email that they are being abandoned on August 7, 2015.
B&N confirmed that the Nook store, which was available in as many as 40 countries at one time, will only be available in the U.S. and UK starting August 8.
It was only three years ago that B&N announced an international expansion outside of the U.S and UK through a partnership with Microsoft. The only problem was that the Nook store was only available as a Windows 8 app. If you add in the fact that B&N bought out Microsoft’s share of Nook Media back in December 2014, this news isn’t surprising.
Here’s the transcript (translated from Dutch) of the email being sent out: “Dear Customer, We recently announced that Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have agreed to terminate their commercial partnership. As a result, payments through your Microsoft account no longer supported. In addition, the Nook app for Windows will from August 7, 2015 are no longer available outside the United States. This means that your Nook content can no longer open on a Windows platform.”
“Our records indicate that you are outside the United States and that you are using your Microsoft account as a payment method in your Nook app for Windows account. Therefore, you may be eligible for a refund from Microsoft for any purchases you have made with your Microsoft account.”
The only question left is if B&N will sell the Nook platform or simply close the store, because it’s obvious the company can’t commit to the ebook business.
Nook revenues continue to decline at an alarming rate. For the fiscal year ending May 2, 2015, revenues were $264 million, which is a 47.8-percent decrease from the previous year.
Hopefully a suitable company will be interested in the business, so it doesn’t disappear entirely. Kobo might be the best option since the company did something similar when Sony abandoned its ebook business last year. We will keep an eye on Nook’s movements to see how the story develops.